Forbes Book Review

// October 31st, 2012 // Comments Off // Filed under Press Box

What Makes A Successful NHL General Manager? New Book Takes A Look

BROSSARD, CANADA – MAY 2: Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin and team owner Geoff Molson shake hands after a press conference introducing Bergevin as the new General Manager. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Finding a leader for a $445 million hockey team doesn’t happen overnight.

Montreal Canadiens owner and CEO Geoff Molson spent over a month carefully trimming a list of approximately 20 candidates before finally finding the man he hopes can rebuild the historic franchise.

“We were looking for a candidate with very strong leadership capability, great communication skills at all levels, and someone with a clear determination and commitment to winning,” Molson said earlier this month after introducing Marc Bergevin as the 17th General Manager in Canadiens history.

Bergevin moves into the Montreal top job after serving as Assistant General Manager for the Chicago Blackhawks last season. He also brings a wealth of hockey experience to the position with nearly 1,200 games played and job titles dotting his resume such as a scout, assistant coach, and Director of Player Personnel.

But will Bergevin have success in the pressure-cooker hockey market of Montreal?

Few have taken the time to study hockey management like Jason Farris, author of Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built. Farris spent 18 months traveling across North America to speak at length with every living GM who had taken a team to the Stanley Cup Final. His 252-page book is the byproduct of those discussions and gives unprecedented insight into what makes these iconic GM’s tick.

Farris is a jack-of-all-trades. He’s currently an Executive Vice President with the Dallas Stars, but has also served as CEO of Citizens Bank of Canada, Vice President of software company Fincentric, and earned degrees in political science, physics, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He’s seen leadership in action (and destruction) across a number of industries and his interest in hockey motivated him to study what really makes a successful General Manager.

Network and Information-Gathering

The key to any successful hockey executive is his network. Unlike CEO’s of companies on the Forbes Global 2000 list, NHL GM’s aren’t poached from other industries with the lure of excessive pay. Like Bergevin, most GM’s have spent decades playing, scouting, coaching, and managing their way up the hockey food chain. Along the way they’ve stared across the ice or the bargaining table at many of their peers who now lead other organizations.

“I think hockey is a unique industry in the sense that the interconnectedness between GM’s does not exist between leaders in other industries,” says Farris. “These guys are competing so hard against one another, but the reality is it’s a closed industry. There are 30 teams and they all have to cooperate to succeed. If you’re the leader of Wells Fargo, you don’t necessarily have to cooperate with your top two of three competitors.”

The lifetime these men spend building their networks and interacting with peers in various roles also gives them access to insight that helps guide their decision-making.

“At the core, the GM’s are in the information business,” Farris says. “If they can access information from all over the world ahead of other teams, they can gain an advantage. If they’re bringing a player in, they want to have a good read on the situation that the player is coming from and how he might impact the locker room, in addition to his on-ice abilities.”

Decision-Making and Structure

Filtering and calibrating that information effectively is also critical to management success. Farris’ book documents the evolution of the front office from a time when it was contained just a General Manager, head scout and secretary, to the extensive modern-day hockey operations department.

“You don’t really have the all-singing, all-dancing GM anymore,” Farris explains. “Most GM’s come off a certain experience track so who they surround themselves with is very important. I think the ability to complement their skills with people who can challenge the decision-making and brings new ideas to the table is really critical.”

Farris says that Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, son of legendary coach Scotty Bowman, is a perfect example of the administrator/delegator that effectively manages a network of talented associates. It shouldn’t be a coincidence that the NHL’s last two GM hires were spawned from the Bowman front office. Both Bergevin and current Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Chevaldayoff played prominent roles in the Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup run.

One of Bergevin’s most important tasks in Montreal this summer will be deciding how to structure his organization.

“I’m just a piece to the puzzle,” he said, giving the sense he plans to adopt Bowman’s cohesive strategy. “We’re all going to do this together. It’s about teamwork. I’m not scared of things I don’t know because I’m going to make sure I surround myself with the people who can help me make the right decisions. I’ll take all the responsibility for my decisions, but it’s a team effort and we’ll work together.”

Controlling the flow of information and using it to drive internal decision-making is critical to success, but no optimal method exists that automatically translates to Stanley Cups.

New Jersey’s Lou Lamoriello, currently the NHL’s longest-tenured GM, takes a very different approach than Bowman. Instead of encouraging cooperation and teamwork amongst his staff, he creates information silos to eliminate the groupthink mentality.

“Lou purposely keeps certain people away from each other on the scouting and hockey operations staff,” Farris says. “He’ll say ‘look, the most important thing for you to do is X, go do it’ and he won’t tell anyone else what that guy might be doing because he wants to protect the integrity of the information.”


Lamoriello not only has complete control over the information flow within his organization, but he’s also known for his surly and reclusive PR presence. Farris explains that while the secretive approach may not appeal to fans or journalists who crave up-to-the-minute information, it’s a strategy that works. The Devils have made the playoffs 14 of the past 15 seasons.

“By doing what he does, Lou is reinforcing his stamp on the team that ‘it’s us against the world and everybody else is trying to gain an advantage on us’. That can be extremely influential and I think that’s what the successful GM’s do. They put a unique stamp or identity on their team.”

On the other end of the PR spectrum from Lamoriello is Toronto’s Brian Burke, who can be just as surly at times but seems to bask in the media spotlight. Burke insists on being the face of the franchise and has clearly defined what he expects from his team on the ice. Mention the adjectives ‘truculence’ and ‘sandpaper’ to any Toronto hockey fan and he or she will know you’re describing a “Burke type of player”.

Toronto has also built their organization around the power of ‘Big Blue’. As a GM in a constrained salary capped system, it’s important to create capacity for yourself. Maple Leafs ownership has given Burke the green light to outspend almost every team in the NHL when it comes to off-ice luxuries.

“Toronto has the best practice facility, a dedicated goalie coach, a player development staff, a scouting staff of 35 when most teams might have 20,” Farris says. “You’re limited in what you can spend in player salaries, but they’re outspending everyone off the ice to try and create a competitive advantage.”

In Pittsburgh, the home of high-priced superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, GM Ray Shero creates capacity for himself by also striving to provide players and their families with the best possible experience.

“Ray lobbied ownership on his way into the job [in 2006] to have money in the budget to provide team services that would create an environment that’s healthy and attractive for players to come to,” Farris says.

The healthy environment has allowed Shero to retain many of his star players at discounted salaries and also attract quality free agents who hear glowing reviews from their peers.

It can take years for a GM to build and solidify an organizational identity, but Bergevin has already made it a point to reconnect with the unique French Canadian fanbase in Montreal.

“The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is here in our backyard,” Bergevin said at his introductory press conference. “My vision is to put people in place to make sure we don’t miss guys from Quebec. The goal is to win, but there are good Quebec players all around the league and we’ll do the best we can not to miss them.”


Identity can even be defined through innovation. Burke’s charisma and personality compels others in the organization to follow his lead — perhaps a softer side of innovation — but others like Mike Gillis in Vancouver are more surgical in their approach.

“Mike has taken a lot of flak for how he’s gone about touting his innovation,” Farris says, “but whether it’s sleep doctors or nutritional studies, he’s been determined to be an independent thinker.”

Farris even wonders whether the interconnectedness of the NHL GM’s discourages independent thinking and hinders front office progress. Billy Beane and his ‘Moneyball’ approach forever changed the way baseball is managed, but what if his Athletics hadn’t won 20 straight games and the AL West Division title? Would Beane have gone down as just another GM with a goofy idea that didn’t work?

The biggest challenge for any GM like Bergevin in a hockey-crazy market is managing the expectations of the fanbase. Canadiens owner Geoff Molson said Bergevin plans to “build his team for long-term success through player procurement and development,” but Farris says the pressures of losing can force even the best leaders to question their methods.

“Once you lose your way and you’re very quickly in the back end of a five-year contract, you start taking quick hits to try to make up and things can unravel quickly,” he says.

“Maybe an unsuccessful GM will be swayed by the need to sell tickets and keep a long-time player, or hire a friend of his in the front office that may not be the best fit. Nobody will ever identify these little things as the seeds to destruction. We don’t document that. They just go down as the guys that didn’t win.”

Mike Colligan is an NHL analyst specializing in the Business of Hockey. He also manages and contributes to Overtime and The Hockey Writers. Follow Mike on Twitter: @MikeColligan.

National Post Book Review

// October 31st, 2012 // Comments Off // Filed under Press Box

The ‘book’ on NHL general managers

By Iain MacIntyre, columnist

May 29, 2012
also printed in Vancouver Sun on May 28, 2012

Read more:

VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup final is going to be a mismatch. The Los Angeles Kings have size, talent, scoring depth, rest, coaching and a general manager who has never won the Cup. The New Jersey Devils have Lou Lamoriello. Devils in four?

“I enjoy the hockey . . . but my heartstrings are pulled towards the general managers,” author Jason Farris explained. “About what parts they’ve played in this and about the things they’d be proud of and the things they’d be pissed off about. I wear the wins and losses through the eyes of the GMs because of my appreciation for what they’re trying to do to build into the fabric of their organizations.”

Lamoriello’s knitting was established two decades ago. Los Angeles manager Dean Lombardi did a lot of sewing in the last year.

We’re not actually picking the Devils to win, of course, because the Kings are the most dominant playoff team in years and will win in five games unless Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick suddenly gets stage fright playing against Marty Brodeur.

But the final, like all hockey games, are a product of their managers when the game is viewed through Farris’ lens.

The Vancouver author, who also put his MIT business degree to work as a bank president before he became the Dallas Stars’ vice-president of business operations last fall, is writing my column today. But I don’t feel too guilty because National Hockey League general managers wrote his book.

Farris, a 43-year-old who has produced scrapbook-style books on broadcasting legend Jim Robson, Cesare Maniago and Vancouver Canucks captains, set out to interview every NHL manager who has taken a team to the Stanley Cup final. The deceased were difficult to interview, so in many cases Farris cobbled together chapters through research and interviews with current GMs. Farris also chose other intriguing managerial and coaching figures of his generation.

After 18 months, 50,000 kilometres and a pile of his own money — Farris self-publishes in order to maintain absolute control of his projects — his crowning achievement is Behind The Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built.

Farris will admit he didn’t so much write the book as compile it. Rather than distill information gleaned from interviews into his own conclusions, he selected quotes from an unprecedented bank of transcripts and essentially allowed the managers to tell the story — about their business, themselves and each other.

Sounds like a good idea.

“My first year in the league . . . we had a GM meeting (and) I thought Bob Gainey and Serge Savard were going to have a fight. I remember Gary Bettman saying: ‘It looks like they’re going to fight. What are we going to do?’ I said: ‘We’re going to watch.’” — Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke on “the club.”

“You don’t have to tell him all the facts, but you need to tell him enough of the truth.” — New York Rangers GM Glen Sather on dealing with reporters

“Sather, I think he’s more cagey than most guys. It’s not that you can not trust him . . . you have to approach (veterans GMs) differently because I don’t know if you can take everything at face value.” — Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman

“Scotty is always snooping. He’s always curious. That whole Detroit organization — they’re a bunch of snoopers.” — Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier on Scotty Bowman

“Most of these guys buy the team so they can be in the paper. You can have $100 million and nobody knows who you are. But when you buy a sports team, you’re in the paper and everyone in the world knows who you are.” — Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren on owners

“(The union) wants stats. They want facts presented. Not that (the player) is a wimp and he doesn’t try and he didn’t dress for four games in a row because he played 14 without a point.” — Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray on arbitration

“My responsibility … is to lead this company the same way you lead when you own a convenience store. If you don’t check the fridge, the cream will get sour.” — Former Colorado GM Pierre Lacroix on communication

Farris said he wanted to do a book that combined his passions of hockey and organization-building.

Burke wrote the forward for the book and initially made some calls to others GMs on Farris’ behalf.

“In some cases that helped open doors and in some cases it actually set me back,” Farris smiled. “But word got around that I was doing this and I was serious about it and trying to do it the right way. I would meet them in their office and in some cases their homes. I spent eight hours with Glen Sather on his porch in Banff.”

He said he never worried whether present and past managers and coaches would cooperate.

The only subject who dodged Farris entirely was Mike Keenan, although maybe the former coach heard what Red Wing vice-president Jim Devellano said about Iron Mike: “It’s plain and simple: he’s a bad man, he downgrades people, he treats people like sh– and that’s why he has coached eight teams and managed four.”

Farris said it was one of only two quotes in the book that he sent back to its originator for reflection. Devellano told Farris he was fine with it. It occupies most of page 74.

The book sells for $99, a little more for any of the various special editions available on Farris’ website ( As long as I could expense it, I’d have paid that much just for the remarkable GM registry that Farris includes as a supplement, listing records for all 175 men who have managed in the NHL over the last 85 years.

“The fact is, there is no one way to win,” Farris said. “Stan Bowman, who deserves every bit as much respect for winning as anyone else, did it a different way than Lou Lamoriello. Their care and personality, that’s what they’re investing.”

Farris said he printed only about 5,200 copies of the book, which has been out for several months and will soon sell out. He claims he won’t print more because he didn’t undertake the project to make money and is ready to move on to other things, like running the business side of the Stars.

He and Dallas owner Tom Gaglardi are friends from their school and “road hockey” days in Vancouver. Dallas general manager Joe Nieuwendyk is not in the book and hasn’t complained about it.

“I’d say: ‘Geez, Joe, what finals have you made?’” Farris said. “When we make a final in Dallas, I’ll happily do an updated version that includes Joe Nieuwendyk.”

Read more:

Steven Bennet Book Review

// October 31st, 2012 // Comments Off // Filed under Press Box


By: Steven Bennett
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

As I write, the Los Angeles Kings are about three hours from taking the ice with the chance to win the Stanley Cup with a record of 16-2 and to become one of the best playoff teams in the history of the NHL.

Way back in October I picked the Kings to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup playoffs and face off against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres failed to make the playoffs and the Kings sputtered through most of the regular season.

The Sabres made some changes at the deadline on the ice, but GM Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff kept their jobs. They Sabres looked destined to make the playoffs when they chased Capitals goalie Branden Holtby and defeated the Capitals in Washington late in the regular season. In the end, it wasn’t enough and the Sabres fell just short of what would have been a historic late season march to the playoffs.

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi also made several changes during the season that helped the King qualify for the playoffs and overcome the dead-stick-syndrome that plagued them for much of the regular season.
• Just before Christmas the Kings fired head coach Terry Murray and replaced him with Darryl Sutter
• At the trade deadline the Kings traded Jack Johnson and their first round pick in 2012 or 2013 to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jeff Carter. Since that trade, the Kings are 27-7-3
• In February, the Kings called up Jordan Nolan and Dwight King from Manchester (AHL). Nolan and King have played key roles for the Kings in the post season solidifying their fourth line and providing the depth needed for Sutter to roll four lines and keep the team fresh
If the Kings can win one of the next four games, Jonathan Quick will likely be named the winner of the Conn Smythe trophy and Dustin Brown will go get the Cup from Garry Bettman. Anze Kopitar will be remembered for his breathtaking overtime goal in game one and Mike Richards and Carter will be discussed as the guys who were banished from Philadelphia before being reunited in L.A. and leading the Kings to the Cup. Murray is sure to be given a ton of credit for waking up the Kings sticks and leading a historic run through the NHL playoffs.

Dean Lombardi won’t mind, but he probably won’t get the credit that he deserves for making the in-season adjustments needed to lead the Kings where they have never been before. Lombardi is not a finalist for the NHL General Manager of the Year award.

One spot where Lombardi is sure to receive the proper recognition is at The website is dedicated to selling a great new book called, “Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners are Built.”

The book is a gorgeous hard cover book that arrived at Sports-Caster’s headquarters numbered and autographed by former Rangers GM, Neil Smith. The book was put together by Jason Ferris and the forward is written by Maple Leafs GM, Brian Burke.

The book is full of information about many of the 175 men who have served as general managers of an NHL team. The book is loaded with anecdotes, stats, charts, pictures, and quotes from the men behind the moves.

The book was put together with an incredible attention to detail. Pictures of Stanley Cup rings grace its pages, and the stories are not only told with words but with pictures, stats and charts. Turn to the section dedicated to Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis and find a detailed chart on how Gillis built last season’s Stanley Cup finalists.

I was shocked to learn how few have actually served as NHL general managers. The Buffalo Sabres have only had six general managers in their existence that dates back to 1970. The Carolina Hurricanes have only had one general manager in their brief history. Maybe the most shocking: The Boston Bruins, an original six NHL franchise, have had only EIGHT general managers.

The book would serve as a beautiful conversation piece on any coffee table and almost seems too precious to touch. Every time I flip through the pages of the book, I wash my hands and handle it with the care of a new born baby.

There is a section of the book that is dedicated to explaining the lingo used by an NHL GM. “UP” is used to describe a player who’s contract is set to expire and “a dog” is a player that is of ordinary ability.

The book explains the unwritten rules that govern the league’s general managers. For example, general managers are expected to return the phone calls of other general managers immediately.

The history of the National Hockey League has been told through the eyes of players, and coaches, and officials in countless pieces of literature released in the last seventy-five years. “Behind the Moves” gives us the unique opportunity to learn about the league through the eyes of the the GM.

The book is beautiful and put together with class in a way that is synonymous with the class and dignity that NHL GM’s have always conducted their business with.

If you want a copy of the book or are looking for more information, please visit

CBC HNIC/Elliotte Friedman

// October 31st, 2012 // Comments Off // Filed under Press Box

By Elliotte Friedman
Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 | 09:13 AM

During the Stanley Cup playoffs, I had time to read Behind the Moves, which is basically a 252-page oral history of hockey’s general managers. It’s written by Jason Farris, who is now a Dallas Stars executive vice-president.

The book is outstanding. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to re-read it, this time putting together a structured notes package on its subjects.

One of the best things about working at HNIC is the access it allows. However, Farris, who has more of a business background than a sportswriting one, got these guys to reveal quite a bit about their philosophies and thought processes. That includes guys who tend to be quite secretive, like Lou Lamoriello and Pierre Lacroix. The group was also very honest about each other.

It is available solely through a website called There will be a little bit of sticker shock, but I’d absolutely recommend it. Even if you’re not a total hockey puck, the insight into how GMs think probably applies to other sports.

Quite honestly, I’m jealous I’m not the one who got to write it.

Farris 630 CHED

// December 24th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Uncategorized

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INSTANT REPLAY: Behind the Moves

// December 16th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, BTM BUZZ, Press Box


By Len Corben – North Shore Outlook
Published: December 14, 2011 1:00 PM
Updated: December 16, 2011 12:32 PM

Getting into Brian Burke’s head would not appear to be an easy task, but West Van author/publisher Jason Farris has done it.

Lots of kudos to Farris… and much credit to Burkie too.

The result is Farris’ latest book, Behind the Moves, which goes inside the minds of the National Hockey League’s most successful general managers – all but one of the 35 living GMs who have taken their team to the Stanley Cup finals – Burke included.

Farris did not know Burke previously. “I got to know him through this project,” Farris explains. “He really liked the concept and he and I really hit it off well. I travelled to Toronto regularly and we covered tons of ground every time we would get together.

“The book provides equal weight to all the GMs but Burke spent a lot of time giving me the ins and outs of the league, how it all works; and reads on the different guys.

“He has been absolutely phenomenal. Everything he said he would do, he’s done in spades. He and I texted back and forth a couple of times a day. He would send me back quick notes on everything.

“I’d say, ‘Look, I’m struggling with this guy.’ He’d call the guy right away. He was just terrific. He could have said, ‘I don’t want to do this book. I’ll wait and do the Brian Burke book on general management.’ He didn’t take that approach at all. He right away wanted to do this with the broad GM group not just the Brian Burke show.

“He believes the GMs are an underappreciated group. He felt nothing had been properly done with the GMs before and this was the time to do it right. It all kind of fell into place.”

Farris started interviewing in January 2010. He travelled across the continent numerous times to have face-to-face, executive-level conversations with all those 35 GMs except Mike Keenan who declined involvement. Material on deceased GMs was incorporated as well.

My favourite quote in the book is from Harry Neale who famously said, “We can’t win at home, we can’t win on the road. My failure [as GM] is that I can’t find anywhere else to play.”

But you could also pick something from Scotty Bowman, Pat Quinn, Harry Sinden, Glen Sather et al. Wow, even going back to Milt Schmidt and Emile Francis.

I really like the photos of the Cup rings and the bios of the 174 men who have held GM positions since the NHL took possession of the Stanley Cup during the 1926-27 season.

Of course, the book isn’t for every hockey fan, 1. due to the cost and 2. because it’s not ice-level stuff. You might say it’s more like baseball’s Moneyball.

Nevertheless, Farris is a brilliant marketer. The basic book is $99.95 but he also has 12 different $139.95 versions with custom dust jackets branded with a specific team and hand-signed and numbered by that team’s GM. There’s also a great little booklet with each GM’s year-by-year statistical record (which has never been done before), a GM timeline and a genealogy poster with arrows showing various connections each GM has had with the others as teammates or in coaching or front-office roles.

Because there are so many versions, the book is only sold online and shipped from the warehouse. The books are large (10”x12” and 252 pages) and weigh a ton so shipping is an additional $18 regular delivery and more for rush. You can check out the details at

This is the fourth – and apparently the last – of Farris’ authoring career (at least until the Dallas Stars win the Stanley Cup in, say, 2015) for two reasons.

Firstly, he’s now written the stories that are closest to his heart. Secondly, he has a new job.

As a kid, Farris was mesmerized by the voice of longtime broadcaster Jim Robson who was behind the mike with the Canucks of the Western Hockey League even before Jason was born.

As a goalie himself, Farris was also enthralled by his goaltending hero Cesare Maniago whose long career included 1976-77 and ’77-78 in the NHL with Vancouver during Jason’s impressionable pre-teen years.

Eventually Farris’ admiration focused on Canucks’ general managers Pat Quinn and Brian Burke whose respective 11 and six seasons in Vancouver coincided with Jason’s foray into the world of business management as a young man.

Thus when Farris began self-publishing, he wrote books with Robson (Hockey Play-By-Play: Around the NHL with Jim Robson which came out in 2005, followed in 2010 by Hockey Play-By-Play: Canuck Captains with Jim Robson) and with Maniago (Hail Cesare! published in 2006).

Now he’s done Behind the Moves.

Next up is his recently-announced position as Executive VP, Business Operations and Development, with the Dallas Stars.

Farris and new Stars’ owner Tom Gaglardi graduated together from Vancouver’s Magee Secondary in 1985. So you might think that this is a case of who you know, not what you know.

In Jason’s case it’s a double-barrelled who and what you know since he’s already had management positions in a variety of business ventures. His 18 months of picking the brains of the GMs doesn’t hurt either.

Gaglardi and Farris both played school sports in their junior high grades in addition to informal play like road hockey.

And there was an infamous, intramural-type Grad ’85 floor hockey league at Magee that holds a key connection. Farris was editor of the school annual and by coincidence floor hockey got two pages in the yearbook while inter-school senior sports like basketball, volleyball and field hockey got one.

The pair shared time guarding the nets for the third-place No-Names in the four-team league, bowing out of the playoffs in the sudden-death semi-finals. Farris was awarded “the coveted Golden Sieve Award” with a “staggering” league-worst 7.3 goals-against average. Gaglardi gave up three goals in his one game.

However, obviously they are No-Names no longer.

Hockey Now Feature of Behind the Moves – December 2011

// December 16th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Seen On, BTM BUZZ, Pat Quinn, Press Box

Each month during the 2011-2012 season, Hockey Now will feature a spread from the new book, Behind the Moves.

You can find December’s spread on page 4 & 5 of the pdf file you can find at

This month, we go Behind the Moves with an iconic Canadian – former GM of the Vancouver Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs plus bench boss of Canada’s 2002 Olympic gold medal winning men’s hockey team – Pat Quinn.  Quinn is one of the 34 Cup finalist GMs who participated in the making of Behind the Moves, a 252-page coffee-table book rich with hockey imagery, stories of wheeling and dealing, and the raw experiences of NHL GMs who built winners.  The book is not available in stores and can only be purchased at

Lou Lamoriello or Bob Murray? Who won this trade?

// December 12th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Bob Murray - Anaheim Ducks, ACTIVE - Lou Lamoriello - New Jersey Devils, NHL Trades, You Make the Call!

New Jersey acquires: Kurtis Foster, Timo Pielmeier

Anaheim acquires: Mark Fraser, Rob Pelley, 7th round pick (2012)

Pierre Gauthier or Jim Rutherford? Who won this trade?

// December 9th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Jim Rutherford - Carolina Hurricanes, ACTIVE - Pierre Gauthier - Montreal Canadiens, NHL Trades, You Make the Call!

Montreal acquires: Tomas Kaberle

Carolina acquires: Jaroslav Spacek

Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said he believes Kaberle will provide the dominating power-play presence the team hoped Andrei Markov would bring.

”Andrei Markov is our quarterback, but he hasn’t played a game yet,” Martin said after the team’s practice Friday.

The oft-injured Markov underwent more knee surgery last Monday and isn’t expected back for at least another six weeks.

”The power play is a critical part of the game for us,” Martin said.

”If we can get better production out of it, maybe that can make a difference. That’s what happened my first two seasons here.”

-   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   -

“I’m sorry it’s over, but it was clear I had no future in Montreal,” Spacek told Sportsnet’s Louis Jean. “I think this will be good for my career and my family.”

-   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   –   -

Said Rutherford in a statement, “This deal brings a solid, veteran defenseman to our team for the remainder of this season and allows us more flexibility with our roster moving forward.”

Marek vs. Wyshynski – Behind The Moves Review

// December 7th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Jeff Marek think Behind the Moves is awesome!  I especially like the comment about reading a few pages, going to the internet to research, reading a few more pages.  Take a listen…

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GM Hockey Joke for Those Office Parties – Marek vs. Wyshynski

// December 6th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under GM News

Okay everyone!  Thanks to Marek vs. Wyshynski we all now have a pretty funny GM hockey joke that we can impress with at our next office party.  Take a listen (and oh, by the way, love those impressions!)…


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“I found Behind the Moves very revealing. I love it!”

// December 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, BUZZ, Lou Nanne, Reader Reviews


Lou Nanne, Minneapolis MN – former Minnesota North Stars GM

“I found Behind the Moves very revealing. I love it!”

Who’s the Toughest? Jeff Marek’s The Sheet

// December 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, BUZZ, You Make the Call!

The Sheet

December 4, 2011, 12:02 pm

Had a lot of fun on the ‘Marek vs Wyshynski’ podcast Friday afternoon with the Brian Burke story of challenging Kevin Lowe to a barn fight (and isn’t there just something delicious about the term ‘barn fight’?) which got me to thinking a couple of things:

1 – Who do you think the toughest GM in the NHL is?

Hmmm, good one.

I think it comes down to two: Philadelphia’s Paul Homlgren and Washington’s George McPhee. McPhee is also, pound for pound, one of the toughest players to ever suit up in my estimation. Garry Howatt would top that list, but I digress.

2 – Has something like this ever happened before where two rival GMs roll up the sleeves and brush up on their Marquees of Queensbury rules?

Well, we’ve seen coaches go at it before or at least try to go at it. Jacques Demers and the late Herb Brooks tried to mix it up during a spirited Detroit-Minnesota game. Also, Pat Burns infamously tried to get at Kings bench boss Barry Melrose during the Los Angeles/Toronto 1993 semi-finals.

But those four gentlemen never actually came to blows.

Washington Capitals GM George McPhee however, was involved in one such altercation. After a preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks, he stormed into the Hawks room and belted Chicago coach Lorne Molleken in the face. McPhee, ironically was incensed over Molleken’s use of “goon tactics” against the Caps in the game. Molleken dressed seven tough guys for the game forcing the Caps to scratch Peter Bondra and Adam Oates from the contest for fear they would get hurt. Dave Manson cross-checked Steve Konowalchuk in the head and received a one game suspension in a game that featured several fights. Washington forward Trevor Halverson suffered a career-ending concussion after fighting three times in the game. McPhee was suspended for 30 days and fined $20,000.

Another such scuffle occurred in 1957, when Maple Leafs General Manager Howie Meeker punched owner Stafford Smyth “between the eyes” after a heated exchange between the two men.

A little known story involves an owner and a skater, as former Detroit Red Wings owner Bruce Norris confronted Parker MacDonald at a team function. Apparently, Norris tried to strangle the winger before players separated the two. It is believed that Norris may have been over-poured that evening.

Brian Burke, by the way, has seen a couple of GMs almost come to blows over a player. As documented in John Farris’ excellent book “Behind the Moves: NHL general managers tell how winners are built”, Burke tells the story of a Montreal and Minnesota GM came close to slugging it out.

“In my first year with the league, I think it was 1993, we had a GMs meeting at The Ritz on Dana Point in California. I thought Bob Gainey and Serge Savard were going to have a fight. Montreal had signed a contract that Gainey, who was the Minnesota GM at the time, didn’t like. Gainey started giving it to Serge and the next thing you know they were face to face…yelling in French and English. I remember Gary Bettman saying, ‘What are we going to do? It looks like they’re going to fight.’ I said ‘we’re going to watch’. I was actually looking forward to it. (Laughs). People were pushing tables out of the way because it looked like they were going to go. Then, Bob Gainey called a (GM) meeting and kicked everyone (who wasn’t a GM) out of the room except me and Bettman. In that meeting, Gainey went right back at Savard. He felt Savard had overpaid one of his own players and (screwed) up the salary structure. To this day I’m amazed they didn’t fight.”

On a side note, this GMs book by Farris is one of the most fascinating hockey reads I’ve had in a long time. We’ve all read plenty of books about players, coaches, referees but there is very little if anything written about the craft of assembling and running an NHL team from a GM’s point of view. “Behind the Moves” is an enormous undertaking that transcribes just about every aspect of putting a hockey team together, told by the men who’ve done it. We’ll have Farris on the podcast very soon.

“Behind the Moves will make a great gift. Thanks!”

// December 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, Reader Reviews


Tom U., Marshfield WI

Behind the Moves arrived last week in beautiful shape, and it will make a great gift. Thanks!”

Behind the Moves on CBC Radio’s Central Morning

// December 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio




Listen to Behind the Moves author Jason Farris speak with Leigh Anne Power:

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About Leigh Anne:

When Leigh Anne was five months old in Placentia, she watched the Canada/Russia Summit series on her father’s knee. At that time, she saw the great Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer and Ken Dryden in action, and a Habs fan was born. Since then, she has happily witnessed the Habs win seven of their twenty-four Cups, including their last in 1993, the year before she graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. That same year, she began work as a writer/broadcaster at CBC in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. In 1997, she moved to Gander to work as a reporter and became the Morning Show co-host in 2006. She is still waiting for Carey Price to lead the Habs to their 25th Stanley Cup.

Behind the Moves on CityTV’s Breakfast Television with Jody Vance

// December 2nd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio





Jason talks with Jody about interviewing every living NHL GM who has taken a team to the Stanley Cup Final:

Behind the Moves on City TV

About Jody

Born and raised in Vancouver, Vance was the first woman in Canadian television to host her own sports program in prime time, a position she held on Sportsnet for six years, starting in 2000. More recently, she was host of Seeking Stanley on the CBC, a program that followed the Vancouver Canucks’ exciting NHL playoff run. Previously, she worked for Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment doing live, unscripted pre- and post-game broadcasts for all of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ home games.

Slapshot Radio Interview

// December 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Jason is featured on Slapshot Radio – with Pete Weber and Paul McCann

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630 CHED Edmonton Interview

// December 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Jason talks with Dan Tencer about Behind the Moves - From the dressing room to the board room, Dan Tencer and 630 CHED have you covered!

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Behind the Moves on CBC Radio’s Airplay

// November 28th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio





Thanks to video games and fantasy sports, a lot of us figure we could build a winning National Hockey League team, but author Jason Farris decided to ask the people who really knew.

Farris interviewed every living NHL general manager that had taken a team to the Stanley Cup finals for his new book, Behind The Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built.

Click on the link below to hear him speak with Dave.

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“Very special addition to my library of hockey books”

// November 26th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, Reader Reviews


Andrew C., Vancouver BC

“When I first heard about Behind the Moves, I thought this was going to be some kind of book…….I am absolutely in awe of the end result…..I truly love the stories, gossip, quotes, notes and more from the GM’s…….The author’s first book with Jim Robson was great, his second with Cesare Maniago was great, the Canucks Captains book was great but Behind the Moves is superb, fantastic, incredible etc. etc. etc…….it is a very special addition to my library of hockey books….”

Behind the Moves on CKNW 980

// November 24th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Listen to Behind the Moves author Jason Farris chatting with Dan Russell on SportsTalk:

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Breakfast Television’s Dina Pugliese with Behind the Moves’ Jason Farris

// November 23rd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Here’s a great shot of the Breakfast Television Toronto set before the interview on November 14.  You can watch the whole interview here:


Jason Farris – New Dallas Stars Executive VP, Business Operations and Development

// November 23rd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Behind the Scenes, CEO Corner


 Here’s the official Team page from the Dallas Stars site:

Jason Farris joins the Stars after having held executive positions in a variety of industries: financial  services, software, publishing and online media. Most recently Farris was President and CEO of  Citizens  Bank of Canada, one of 21 Schedule I banks in Canada. Earlier in his career he served as Vice  President  of  Services and then as Vice President of Marketing for Fincentric, a supplier of core  banking software  to  banks around the world.

Along the way, Farris founded circaNow Media which published four hockey books authored by Farris including Hail Cesare! with former NHL goalie Cesare Maniago (the only goalie in Stars franchise history to backstop all of the team’s wins in a season, albeit when the Stars played in Minnesota) and his current book involving many of the NHL’s general managers titled, Behind the Moves.

Jason earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also holds a B.A. (Political Science) degree from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc. (Physics) degree from the University of British Columbia.

Jason and his wife Sarah have two children, Jane and Owen.




Behind the Moves on Hockey Prospects Radio

// November 23rd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Join Shane Malloy and Russ Cohen as they interview Behind the Moves author Jason Farris today at 1pm EST on Sirius XM – Hockey Prospect Radio.

About Hockey Prospects Radio:

Before they make the NHL, they are showcasing their talents in the many minor and junior leagues across North America and the World. Join NHL HOME ICE every week for a peak into the future with Prospects – tomorrow’s stars, today. Wherever they’re playing, we’ll track them down – in this hourly scouting guide for young stars everywhere.

Behind the Moves Official Press Release

// November 23rd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Press Box

November 23, 2011 05:00 ET

New Hockey Book on NHL GMs is Earning Accolades On and Off the Ice

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Nov. 23, 2011) - The recent release of Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell how Winners are Built marks the first time an author has been given exclusive access to the backroom operations of the NHL’s GMs. This insider’s look at the world of GMs is generating a lot of excitement within the hockey community. The book is already being hailed as the “most important hockey book in over a decade.”

Three-time author Jason Farris recorded over 120 hours of in-person interviews with every living GM who has taken a team to the Stanley Cup final. The interviews were condensed into a 252-page coffee-table book that features those 34 GMs in their own unrated words. The result is part encyclopedia, part history book, and part manual for would-be managers, both on and off the ice.

“I was struck by how much of the decision making that goes into being a GM resonated with my own work as a business executive,” says Jason Farris, who most recently was President and CEO of Citizens Bank of Canada. “The blueprint for getting a team to the Stanley Cup is a continually moving target and those GMs who have adapted have done the best. Those that don’t adapt don’t survive.”

It was precisely these kinds of insights into the game that attracted Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke to the project. Burke wrote the book’s foreword and collaborated with Farris on the concept, helping him to secure interviews with other GMs.

“I believe GMs are the brains and the conscience of the game. Yet, surprisingly, little has been written about them. I’ve always been interested in knowing what other managers thought, so I could learn to emulate certain types and avoid others. Behind the Moves is that playbook for all managers and those aspiring to get into, or move up in, the game,” says Burke.

Having access to the real life trades, negotiations, and day-to-day dealings of real life GMs will also be a boon to the burgeoning virtual GM community. Fantasy sports have become a $3-billion a year industry in North America and that industry is hungry for information. Getting behind the scenes of hockey’s highest chair may be just the ticket.

Behind the Moves will not be sold in stores, but is available at the companion website

Highlights from Behind the Moves include:

  • An essay by Gary Bettman’s predecessor, John Ziegler, about the evolution of the GM’s role
  • Stories of espionage, conspiracy and tomfoolery
  • An explanation of the unwritten rules of the GM community
  • The meanings behind GM lingo
  • Advice to owners when hiring a GM
  • The story behind what it’s really like to have to make a deal with Glen Sather
  • An insider’s look at competing against Lou Lamoriello
  • Details on Brian Burke’s worst trade

Jason Farris

Jason Farris is a national best-selling author and publisher. He is a former Business in Vancouver “40 under 40″ winner, who most recently was president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Canada. He earned an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of British Columbia.

Farris is currently Vice President, marketing with the Dallas Stars.

Married, with two children, Jason and his family make their home in West Vancouver, British Columbia where he plays men’s hockey twice a week and can often be found refereeing bantam and midget hockey games.

Book Review – Guest Blogger Dennis Kane

// November 20th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, Press Box

Oh, those wild and wacky pro hockey general managers. Maker of dreams, slayer of dreams. Bigger than life, often crusty, sometimes Ivy League, these are hockey men in suits walking a fine line between owners and players, trying to build the elusive winner, and make huge profits while doing so.

In Jason Farris’ fine book Behind The Moves these men behind the scenes are examined like never before. Up until now, they’ve remained in the shadows while the stars of the game, and others, took front and centre stage. So finally we have a book about general managers, and what a book it is. 

Farris sat down with the GM’s from every National Hockey League city, recorded more than 120 hours of material from these fellows, and instead of using his own words to take us behind the scene, simply let the men in power do the talking. The result is so ultimately fascinating, so eye-opening, so in-depth, and so unlike any book I‘ve ever seen in dealing with these movers and shakers.

We’ve read in the past about the shady methods of Jack Adams in Detroit and the genius of Sam Pollock, but never before have I seen a completely up-front view up of not just those from before, but now, the ones behind the wheel in today’s game.

Behind The Moves takes us from owners hiring these fellows (“You have to stick with them, like the Islanders and Red Wings stuck with their people, no matter what the early results are.” Jim Devellano), to the GM community itself, (“It’s a den of thieves. The business is such that you don’t necessarily care about the ethics if it’s going to help your hockey team.” Jay Feaster).

It’s a book that explains how many have no idea in the beginning how to be a GM – “For me becoming a GM was the first time in fucking 20 years that I had a pen in my hand, really, other than signing autographs.” Bobby Clarke.

I couldn’t turn away from this book. We see “off the record” snide and shocking revelations of underhanded methods, of the way some back stab and find fault with peers and how it feels to uproot families by dealing a player away. And how do they deal with agents and salary caps and media? It’s all explained here.

It’s a book of GM lingo and GM history and quotes galore from those in the business past and present. We see how they draft, and pull strings, and live their lives trying to capture the glory of the Stanley Cup, and in doing so, hopefully hold on to their jobs for as long as possible.

Why didn’t someone think of writing a book like this before? Such a subject, such a incredible mix of personalities and brain and ego, with lots of luck thrown in for good measure. (“If we hadn’t got Gretzky out of the WHA when we did, you wouldn’t be wasting your day sitting here bullshitting with me.” – Glen Sather)

As legendary Islanders GM Bill Torrey remarked, “So you’re writing a book on NHL general managers. You’ve picked a fertile topic.








Dennis Kane, former newspaper columnist on BC’s west coast, with articles published in the New York Times, Calgary Herald, and numerous hockey publications, and also creator and sole writer of

BUZZ – Behind the Moves Jason Farris News

// November 19th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Behind the Scenes, BUZZ, CEO Corner

Vancouver Sun, November 19th, 2011, Greg Douglas

HERE ‘N’ THERE: Local self-publishing hockey author Jason Farris has landed the position of vice-president, marketing with the Dallas Stars. Farris travelled to 31 cities throughout North America interviewing past and present NHL general managers for his latest book Behind the Moves. When it was made official Friday that Tom Gaglardi had been endorsed by the NHL as the new owner of the Dallas Stars, the Farris appointment became official. The two have been chums dating back to their boyhood school days.

Behind the Moves Radio Spot

// November 18th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

BC fans! Turn on your radios and listen to Jason Farris talk about Behind the Moves with Dan Russell on CKNW 980 AM at 9am this morning!

Behind the Moves Featured on NHL Home Ice SiriusXM – Listen Here!

// November 18th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Whether it’s reviewing, replaying, discussing or deciding – this is the place to be.  And one thing’s for certain – when it comes to opinion – this means war.   Hosted by the always entertaining Mick Kern and the outspoken Peter Berce, they’ll take a stand, they’ll take callers and they’ll take no prisoners.

Take a listen as they interview Behind the Moves author Jason Farris:

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Peter Berce is co-Host of the War Room and all around great guy (at least that’s what they tell him). He has been in broadcasting for 9 years starting as a producer in Toronto, Canada. He’s a CNN junkie (loves that Kyra Phillips). His favorite hockey player is Anze Kopitar of the LA Kings and his pound for pound best player in the NHL is Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames.

A Night Owl who never gets to bed until after the 2 am sports highlight shows are over, Mick is now part of Hockey This Morning, and continues his tour-of-duty on The War Room.  He has talked hockey with most of the big names in the sport, but still hasn’t had the opportunity to interview Len Frig, Pat Ribble, Yves Belanger, Ken Houston, and Mike Christie.  Mick is still haunted by the memory of Dale Hunter’s overtime goal in 1982, and refuses to recognize the Boston Bruins as the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions.

Dennis Kane – Featured Guest Blogger

// November 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Uncategorized

Dennis Kane, former newspaper columnist on BC’s west coast, with articles published in the New York Times, Calgary Herald, and numerous hockey publications, and also creator and sole writer of


He’s signed on to do a reveiw of Behind the Moves – NHL General Managers Tell how Winners are Built.  We’re excited to read what he has to say!

And what does he say about himself?…

It’s an advantage to be older than Moses. Players I’ve seen live over the years include the Rocket, Doug Harvey, Jean Beliveau, Jacques Plante, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Orr, and I continue to follow hockey, particularly the Montreal Canadiens, with great passion and joy.

In my youth I hitchhiked across Canada three times and throughout California, and embraced the counter-culture lifestyle, although I’ve calmed down somewhat from those heady times. I also travelled throughout Europe, and to Russia seven times over the years, and am married to a terrific Russian gal.

We currently live in Powell River, BC, 80 miles up the coast from Vancouver, and hope to someday be called for my chosen profession – stick boy for the Habs. Until then, I continue to work for BC Ferries and try to keep my blog fresh, upbeat, and original.

Working the Phones for a Goalie – Howson & Burke

// November 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Brian Burke - Toronto Maple Leafs, ACTIVE - Scott Howson - Columbus Blue Jackets, You Make the Call!

Looks like netminders are a hot commodity right now – both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Columbus Blue Jackets are working the phones:

Not knowing when James Reimer willl be able to return, GM Brian Burke told “He’s been day-to-day for three weeks, so at some point we have to get a goaltender in here to bridge the gap until he’s healthy

“We’re seeing what’s available and seeing what the price tag is. Obviously nothing has tickled our fancy yet.”

Scott Howson is looking for a goalie right now, but Rick Nash is not part of the deal contrary to reports.

“Not once have I ever brought up his name,” Jackets GM Scott Howson told .

For his part, Nash hasn’t asked to get out, either.

“Rick has never asked for a trade, contrary to what has been reported,” his agent Joe Resnick told . “Rick is focused on trying to turn things around in Columbus and help the team get some wins.”

If you were the GM – who would you get to mind the posts…and who would you give up?

GM Meeting Summary – Sportsnet’s John Shannon

// November 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, BUZZ, Press Box

John Shannon – Top of the List


The November general managers’ meeting is now done. As usual, nothing was really decided, although some concerns were raised. Some insiders would suggest the Tampa Bay-Philadelphia trap issue and the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller collision in the past few days made the meetings worthwhile. The agenda was rather thin without those two events.

The managers did voice their opinions concerning Brendan Shanahan’s process and rulings, but as expected when the decibels increased, the commissioner stepped in to defend the new system, and preach patience. Probably the right call, when you consider that we’ve only been playing regular season hockey for 45 days (of a 185 day season).

The only potential rule change that appeared to get any traction was hybrid icing, which appeared to have a bit more support this fall. When you consider the results of the Eric Nystrom-Taylor Fedun collision in pre-season, additional support isn’t surprising. Hockey operations used the USHL hybrid icing video to explain the execution and success of the rule, which appeared to help the managers understand it better. But I’m told while there will be further discussion in March, “It doesn’t have enough traction to go any further.”

The GMs walked out of their meeting Tuesday with a little gift, courtesy of author/researcher Jason Farris. Farris delivered copies of his new book “Behind the Moves” to all of the managers. It is a fascinating account of the role of the manager, the history of the position, how they got their jobs and who influenced them. It is an absolutely fantastic coffee table book.


Hockey Now Feature Spread of Behind the Moves – November 2011

// November 16th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Seen On, BTM BUZZ, CEO Corner, Press Box

Each month during the 2011-2012 season, Hockey Now will feature a spread from the new book, Behind the Moves.

You can find November’s spread on page 4 & 5 of the pdf file you can find at

This month, many of the top NHL GMs of all time weigh in with their opinions and experiences when dealing with their most precious assets … the players.  Plus the GMs also share their thoughts about the when and where not to go into the dressing room and address the players as a team  Whether you are a player, parent, or coach coming up the ranks, this sampling of NHL GM anecdotes and insights give you a rare glimpse into the psyche and styles of the men at the top of  the hockey world which can help you prepare for situations you might face within your own team or hockey career.  The book is not available in stores and can only be purchased at

Check this video out – Breakfast Television Toronto : Jason Farris

// November 15th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under As Heard On, TV / Radio

Behind the Moves featured on Breakfast Television Toronto.

Watch the interview:










Book Review – Guest Blogger Rick Buker

// November 12th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, Press Box

Rick Buker –

For anyone who’s ever fancied himself as a closet general manager, Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built is an absolute must read.

Frankly, I was floored by the depth and sheer volume of information packed into this brilliant, one-of-a-kind work. Nestled within its 252 crisply designed pages are five main parts: The Modern Era GMs who Built Stanley Cup Winners; The Challenges of being a GM; The GM Godfathers; Other GMs who Shaped the Game; and The all-time NHL GM Roster.

Author Jason Farris gets up close and personal with a bevy of NHL GMs past and present, from legendary flesh-peddlers like Cliff Fletcher, Emile “the Cat” Francis, and Harry Sinden to new-breed helmsmen such as Brian Burke, Lou Lamoriello, and Ray Shero. Mr. Farris picks their brains on literally every facet of running a big-league club, providing the reader with an intimate, behind-the-scenes look into the art of scouting and drafting, negotiating free-agent deals, and swinging the big, blockbuster trade.

Behind the Moves also features entertaining and informative biographies on every NHL GM who served from 1926-27 up through the 2010-11 season, as well as scores of archival photos.

Being a stats junkie at heart, I especially enjoyed the Appendix. Mr. Farris ranks the performance of the top 100 GMs in categories such as games, wins, and win percentage, for both regular season and post-season play. In addition, he provides a fascinating demographics analysis, based on place of birth and playing background.

Hats off to Mr. Farris for creating a masterpiece. I give Behind the Moves an enthusiastic two-thumbs up.

Shark Tank Frenzy – thanks to Fletcher trade agreements

// November 10th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Chuck Fletcher - Minnesota Wild, NHL Trades

From Chris Nichols – Hockey Hearsay

The Wild and San Jose Sharks meet for the first time after they uniquely aligned to consummate three trades in a six-week period over the summer.

Brent Burns, a popular former Wild defenseman, and Devin Setoguchi, a popular former Sharks winger, will play against the franchises they grew up in for the first time.

Skilled forward Martin Havlat, unhappy in Minnesota and willing to waive his no-trade because of that, will face the Wild for the first time, while goal scorer Dany Heatley, blindsided by the late-evening July 3 trade, will try to show the Sharks that last season’s unproductive Heatley wasn’t the real Heatley.

The trades, which included first-round bust James Sheppard to the Sharks for a 2013 third-round pick, were executed for three very different reasons, at least from the Wild perspective. General Manager Chuck Fletcher recently talked about how, and why, the trades came about.

The Wild had missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season — a second under Fletcher’s watch. He had fired Todd Richards, the first coach he took a gamble on, and was in the middle of a full evaluation of an organization in need of more bona fide prospects for the future and go-to guys for the present.

“By June, we were in a position where we felt comfortable internally where we needed to get to and what we wanted to try to accomplish.”"We were stuck in a rut as a franchise,” Fletcher said. “We wanted to take some time and really assess what went wrong last season, and even more importantly than what went wrong, ‘Where exactly were we as a franchise?’

Fletcher on trading Burns: “The players you could readily move, he had by far the most value. People might find this strange, but the decision actually has no reflection of what we felt about Brent Burns. It was more a reflection on the status quo had to change and we had to aggressively add a lot of young a

ssets. To get three top assets for one at this stage of our franchise’s evolution was really important.”

Admitted Fletcher: “As soon as you traded Brent Burns, you know you’re one day closer to looking for the next Brent Burns. You’re blowing a big hole in one area to hopefully fill multiple areas of weakness knowing you’re going to have to go back and address that other area again.”

The Havlat-Heatley trade was complicated by Havlat’s options after two years with the Wild.

“We envisioned Marty coming in and playing on a top line with Mikko [Koivu]. We envisioned him being a front-line guy for us, and the chemistry was n

ever there. And I’m not blaming Marty at all for that. Just the fit was never there, and I don’t know that he was ever completely comfortable here. And I don’t think he was ever maybe put in the position where he wanted to be put in either. So that trade was just a recognition that we needed a different fit for our team, and San Jose felt the same thing.”

At the draft combine in Toronto, Fletcher began talking to Havlat’s agent, Allan Walsh, about Havlat’s willingness to accept a trade for the right situation. Walsh gave Fletcher a couple of potential landing spots, and Fletcher began talking to those teams.

Fletcher came close on a couple of deals around the draft, he said, but the trade was eventually made after the Wild didn’t find itself on Heatley’s list of 10 teams to which he didn’t want t be traded.

Ironically, trading Havlat was made easier by two things: 1) The acquisition of Setoguchi brought speed and goal-scoring prowess to the Wild; 2) Another of Walsh’s clients, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, ideally would play the role Havlat had on the team.

“It took a lot of time because it had to work with Marty, it had to work with us and it had to work for another team,” Fletcher said. “At the time, I had no idea if we would even be able to move him, if he’d want to be moved, if it was the right thing to move him. It had to be a hockey trade. You’re not going to trade a player that good for nothing. It was complicated, and Marty did a lot of soul searching.”

Bryan Murray – crowded blue line

// November 10th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Bryan Murray - Ottawa Senators, You Make the Call!

With Senators defenceman Matt Carkner on the road to recovery after knee surgery it looks like Bryan Murray has a few weeks to decide what to do about his crowded blue line.

The Ottawa Citizen reports:

Murray won’t carry eight defencemen, so one – probably from the trio of Carkner, Brian Lee and David Rundblad – will have to be moved.

The Senators could create some temporary space by asking Carkner to accept a conditioning assignment in the American Hockey League with Binghamton – probably the smart thing to do – but eventually the problem has to be resolved.

Given that a lot of teams are looking for defencemen, it might not be hard to trade 24-year-old Lee. However, the Senators have to decide if they really are ready to give up on him.

What’s your solution for Murray’s defensman dilemna?


Rick Buker – Featured Guest Blogger

// November 10th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, BUZZ

NHLGMs is excited to feature Rick Buker as a Featured Guest Blogger – he’s going to let us know what he thinks of Behind the Moves. So why are we excited?

Rick Buker

Rick writes for – the ultimate blog for Pittburgh Penguins  fans. Boasting a panel of knowledgeable and energetic bloggers who share a deep and abiding passion for the black and gold, PenguinPoop truly is the place where “the poop hits the fans!”

He also writes about his beloved Penguins in his books – his latest titled 100 Things Penguin Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.  We can’t wait to read what he thinks!

BUZZ – First reader testimonial

// November 3rd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under BUZZ, Reader Reviews

“When I first heard about Behind the Moves, I thought this was going to be some kind of book…….I am absolutely in awe of the end result…..I truly love the stories, gossip, quotes, notes and more from the GMs…… The author’s Jim Robson book was great, his Cesare Maniago book was great, the Canucks Captains book was great, but Behind the Moves is superb, fantastic, incredible etc. etc. etc……. It is a very special addition to my library of hockey books.”  – Andrew C., Ladner, BC

Rumour: Scott Howson replaced as Columbus Blue Jackets GM on Monday?

// November 3rd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Scott Howson - Columbus Blue Jackets, You Make the Call!

That’s the rumour on the Jackets board, and other hockey boards online.

Here’s a video from Howson sits down with Bob McElligott for an update on the beginning of the season


The rumour mill sites Craig Button as getting the call…if you were the owner who would you put behind the desk?

Hockey Now feature spread of Behind the Moves

// November 2nd, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Glen Sather - New York Rangers, BUZZ, Press Box

Each month during the 2011-2012 season, Hockey Now will feature a spread from the new book, Behind the Moves.

You can find October’s spread on page 14 & 15 at

What better way to start than with a spread featuring the longest serving general manager in the NHL and a five-time Cup champion GM with the Oilers, Glen Sather.  Sather is one of the 34 Cup finalist GMs who participated in the making of Behind the Moves, a 252-page coffee-table book rich with hockey imagery, and the raw experiences of NHL GMs who built winners.  The book honors these legendary GMs, provides a complete statistical ranking of their achievements, chronicles the evolution of their profession, and charts the inter-relationships between them – whether they emerged from the older Sam Pollock or Bill Torrey schools of franchise management, or patterned themselves after the more recent examples of NHL executive development modeled by the likes of Glen Sather or Pat Quinn.  The book features a foreword by Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke and thereafter provides equal weight to the recollections, philosophies, and insights of the other GMs who have taken their team to the Stanley Cup Finals since the NHL assumed control of the Stanley Cup in 1926.  The book is not available in stores and can only be purchased at

Steve Tambellini leaning to the right – Breaking News!

// November 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Steve Tambellini - Edmonoton Oilers, You Make the Call!

The Oilers this year are heavy on the right – they have five highly skilled players who are lined up as right wingers this year. Jordan Eberle, Lennart Petrell, Linus Omark, Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky (currently out with an injury).

Tambellini just announced that Linus Omark has been reassigned to the Oilers AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons – a decision that gives the Oilers some breathing room to enjoy winning with the current roster in place.

We’ll see how Tambellini decision pans out – your thoughts?

Lou sets the record straight

// October 28th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Lou Lamoriello - New Jersey Devils

“He was not offered a contract. He didn’t refuse anything.”

Rumours were that the Devils may have been willing to sign Steve Bernier to a two-way contract that would’ve allowed them to send him to the minors after the preseason. General manager Lou Lamoriello denied Bernier refused such an offer.

Lamoriello said Bernier played well in the preseason but was caught in a numbers game as the team tried to get down to the 23-player limit.

As it turns out  Bernier was signed to a minor league contract with Albany (AHL).

Thanks to Rich Chere/The Star-Ledger


Greg Sherman faces tough decision

// October 28th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under You Make the Call!

Peter Mueller, the top-six left winger who missed the final weeks of the 2009-10 season and all of the following season with a concussion, lasted just three games before being sidelined again.  And concussion specialist Dr. Robert Cantu has been brought in.  That spells bad news for the Avs.

Adrian Dater from the Denver Post writes that the Avs have two possible remedies: Make a trade or move Landeskog up.

Looking at the trade –most general managers don’t want to give up their young assets for vetran help.  The Avs would most likely lose a top defensive prospect (Stefan Elliott, Duncan Siemens, or Tyson Barrie).  Is the risk worth it?

Moving Landeskog up –can the rookie handle the responsibility?  What does that do to the third line?

Sherman has to make the call soon – what would you do?  Pick the trade, moving Landeskog up, or do you have a better solution?

Let me know.


Lamoriello on the phone!

// October 28th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Lou Lamoriello - New Jersey Devils

With Josefson sidelined for three to four months after fracturing his collarbone, it leaves the New Jersey Devils thin at center. Devils GM Lou Lamoriello has openly acknowledged that the team will be looking for help down the middle.

“We’ll see. There’s no question that if you can get a player that will help you, you do it,” Lamoriello said. “But you have to give up something to get something. If you add, you have to make sure what you subtract isn’t more than you receive.”

While they shop for a center, they will have to look for solutions from within. And coach Peter DeBoer looked no further than his own captain.

Parise admitted that he surprised to get the call. “I just kind of assumed when I saw I had the same jerseys as Nick and Kovy, they weren’t going to be playing center,” said Parise, who is stepping for the injured Josefson. “So, I just kind of assumed that I was, and they said it out on the ice we were going to try it out.”

The Parise experiment will be interesting, and may only last for a very short time. If he doesn’t work out at center, Lamoriello will be very busy making a lot of phone calls this week.

Thanks to Patrick Kearns,

Tampa Bay roster decisions can wait a while

// October 28th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under ACTIVE - Steve Yzerman - Tampa Bay Lightning



With the nine-game experiment for rookie LW Brett Connolly earning him a full roster spot, Tampa Bay continues to hold the maximum of 23 players on the roster.

The Lightning are carrying two extra forwards on the roster and an extra defenseman. At some point, D Mattias Ohlund will be ready to return from the arthroscopic knee surgery he had this month.

Coach Guy Boucher has also been trying to juggle the lineup and get as much playing time as possible, as two forwards have to sit each game. The situation will remain status quo until Tampa Bay is forced to make a decision.

“We don’t have a roster issue as far as numbers until Mattias comes back, and he’s going to be out a while,” general manager Steve Yzerman said. “A lot of things can happen between now and then. So we’ll just continue to move along as we go and see what comes up.”

World Juniors

While Connolly has earned a spot on the roster, the 19-year-old remains eligible to participate in the 2012 World Junior Championships for Team Canada. The Under-20 tournament begins Dec. 26. While plenty can happen between now and then, it doesn’t sound like allowing Connolly to play in the tournament is something the team is considering.

“If he plays on our top lines, we need him, so it really depends on our depth at that time, on how he is doing,” Boucher said. “And sometimes you might feel getting a few weeks with guys his own age to see where he is at could be good for his confidence, and playing for Team Canada is always an amazing experience you can draw from a lot.”

No decision has to be made for at least a month, but Boucher has weighed both sides of the decision.

“Most teams don’t send their guys anymore because they keep them for a reason, not just because they are first-round picks but because they made the team and are contributors. So then you are less likely to want to send them back because of that,” he said. “But at the same time, he might be a leader, get some top ice time along with some of the best players in the world and having that pressure, sometimes that’s good.

“So those decisions have to be made and right now we are not there. We have to find a way to make him better with us and continue to adapt and we’ll see then. And I’m sure Steve (Yzerman) has his opinion on that and I have mine, and I’m sure at some point we’ll meet.”

Book delves into mysterious world of the NHL GM – news1130 review

// October 26th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under Book Reviews, BUZZ, Press Box

‘Behind the Moves’ is local author’s third hockey book

John Streit  Sep 27, 2011 21:17:37 PM
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s a secretive world rarely seen by those on the outside: The boardrooms and offices of the elite men responsible for steering hockey franchises to victory.Local author and publisher Jason Farris pulls back the icy curtain in his new book, Behind the Moves: NHL General Managers Tell How Winners Are Built.

Farris says he feels pretty darned fortunate to have had access to the league’s winning GMs from the last half century.

“I had a good in with Brian Burke, and he and I spent close to ten hours together talking through this concept of really trying to go behind the scenes and let fans understand how the GMs work and how they interact together,” he tells News1130.

Farris says from there, he was able to gather more than 120 hours of recorded interviews with every living general manager who has taken a team to the Stanley Cup Final since expansion.

As far as a blueprint for creating a winner – specifically speaking about the Vancouver Canucks – Farris says it has certainly changed. So have the Canucks been following that plan?

“You see the effective GMs are the ones able to adapt as the structure of the league has changed,” he says. “Canucks GM Mike Gillis has been at it for three years and shares one common thing with the other successful GMs.

“He appears from afar to be a very independent thinker, and while he may be prickly on the outside and people may not like his approach a lot, I do think come hell or high water he’s decided to build it his way, and that tends to be the way winners are built.”

Canucks fans will enjoy the backstory of the signing of obscure goalie Martin Brochu in 2001, and how everyone looked skyward when Brian Burke did it.

Farris says Burke believes Islanders GM Mike Milbury “totally screwed him” in that deal.

“He had a deal all lined for Garth Snow at the time and that got pulled on him and he was left holding the bag and having to take Martin Brochu as back-up goalie,” he says.

Farris says the wording is a lot stronger from Burke and fans will enjoy reading about those kinds of things.

Check out to learn more about the book and see sample pages.

BUZZ on Twitter

// October 26th, 2011 // No Comments » // Filed under BUZZ

Tweets about Behind the Moves

Ryan Morissette @Morissette_15 just tweeted:

Just purchased the book @BehindtheMoves ! #can’t-wait-to-read-it #besthockeybookeverwrittenimo